From 2026, owners of detached houses, semi-detached houses and terraced houses must purchase a heat pump if their central heating boiler needs to be replaced. The obligation does not apply to people who own an apartment or monument or a house that will be connected to a heat network in the coming years.
Minister De Jonge for Housing has announced this in a letter to Parliament. He wants to provide clarity to both homeowners and the installation industry, because the rule will come into force in three years.
These homes are (not) covered by the obligation:
De Jonge thinks it is important that the payback period remains under seven years, the same period that is used when purchasing solar panels. Previous research shows that people find this acceptable for such an investment. And the higher the energy prices are, the faster the payback time.
Homeowners, institutions and small businesses can make use of subsidy schemes that cover 30 percent of the average investment costs. According to calculations, it is possible for most houses in the Netherlands to earn back a heat pump within ten years. With that 30 percent investment aid, the ten years must therefore be reduced to the desired seven. Up to and including 2030, 900 million euros will be reserved for this purpose.
Money for low incomes
Homes with a payback period of more than ten years – if, for example, a lot of renovation has to be done to make a heat pump possible – are exempt from the obligation. Low-income earners can make an extra appeal to the National Heat Fund (NWF), where they can take out a loan with 0 percent interest.
Nature & Environment is happy with the plans, but critical about the costs for people with a small budget. That is why the environmental organization asks for an extra subsidy. They see that interest-free NWF loans are not yet easy to find and that people are hesitant to take out loans. “Good financing conditions are badly needed.”
Depends on landlord
Tenants cannot arrange a heat pump themselves. Apartments are already excluded from the obligation anyway, because there is not enough space there for devices, which are often large and noisy.
With so-called ground-level homes, such as terraced houses or semi-detached houses, the obligation lies with the owner, i.e. the landlord. After installing a heat pump, they are allowed to increase the rent because of the improvement in living conditions and the lower energy bill. In this way the investment can be earned back.
Monuments are also excluded, because they must have certain permits for home modifications.
Katja Kruit of environmental research agency CE Delft conducted research last year into the extent to which the heat pump is feasible for Dutch homes. Her results correspond reasonably well with De Jonge’s plans.
“As a result, people know where they stand, although I still have some questions about the elaboration. What about noise standards, for example? It is still unclear how much noise heat pumps make and how strict the requirements are monitored and enforced. You hear that heat pumps in practice make more noise than was calculated in advance.”
She also believes that it is not yet entirely clear whether people should calculate the payback period themselves and how complicated those calculations are. Earlier research by CE Delft showed that certain smaller terraced houses, such as courtyard houses, have a payback period of more than ten years. Moreover, lack of space is a problem there. These homes are now subject to the obligation.
“A hybrid heat pump is very beneficial for most homes, but sometimes it lacks some effect in the exceptions.”
‘All on all’
The installation industry is already preparing for 2026 and Brancheclub Techniek Nederland expects it to be feasible. Chairman Doekle Terpstra: “We are doing everything we can to train enough heat pump technicians. Manufacturers are investing in a major upscaling, so there will soon be three additional production locations in the Netherlands.”
According to the association, 42,000 heat pumps for homes were sold in the first quarter of this year. Last year there were 22,000 in the same quarter.
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